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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Dragon's Plan

   
Author Topic: Dragon's Plan
TaShaJaRo
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This is one possible opening of my Fantasy novel in progress. I have another opening I will submit later.
Thank you in advance for your comments.


Somewhere, someone was afraid. Myka could feel it, taste it, smell it. The faint tendrils of fear wafted through the walls of his room above the stables. They brushed against his unshaven face and he gasped at their seductive touch. The hunger had been growing in him for days. Up until now, he had been able to ignore it, but today the dragon within was roaring for its food. Perhaps he could indulge it with a little taste. Just one tiny taste. He clenched his eyes shut. If he gave in now, he would not be able to stop. He would feed until there was not a sane mind left in the citadel.

He scratched at his face and traced the hardened skin around his eyes and across the bridge of his nose with trembling fingers. He had never considered that it might hurt.

The temple bells tolled the call to worship. Myka could not go to the temple. Today of all days he should not show his face there. He smiled grimly. As if tomorrow or the next day would be better. It would only be worse.

[This message has been edited by TaShaJaRo (edited February 27, 2005).]


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Minister
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It gets my attention, but the three paragraphs seem disjointed -- there is little or no apparent connection among them. In fact, any one of the three could pretty much stand alone as an opening paragraph, each with its own hook. Perhaps reading a little further would clarify it all for me, and with a novel I probably would. But these three paragraphs alone give me very little sense of direction, because they all seem to be going different directions.
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Survivor
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Hmmm, possibly, though that didn't strike me as a serious problem. The second paragraph is a tiny bit unclear all by itself, or rather, the last sentance of that paragraph is a bit unclear. I'm not sure whether it means that Myka clawed at his face and was surprised that it hurt, that clawing at his face didn't hurt, or he had never considered that something else entirely might hurt (someone else entirely).

But all the same, it was pretty clear to me that he was scratching at his face because of the hunger he was feeling, either in atavistic reaction or in an attempt to control it by distraction (or both, the way humans press against the outsides of their skulls in reaction to a severe headache sometimes).

As for the third paragraph, it is clear that the reasons Myka cannot go to the temple are the hardened skin on his face and the hunger that would become uncontrollable once everyone reacted to what he is becoming.

All the same, it wouldn't be hard to integrate them better. Explicate why he's scratching his face and replace "it" in the second sentance. Recast the third sentance of the third paragraph to make it clear that it isn't a matter of showing his face, but rather allowing anyone else to see it.


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77chevy
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I have no specific comment for the first paragraph except that it seems a little clunky. I like this line:

"He scratched at his face and traced the hardened skin around his eyes and across the bridge of his nose with trembling fingers. He had never considered that it might hurt."

This drives my interest, wondering what this dragon has allowed to be done to himself and why.

The part about showing his face serves to clarify that something was done to his face, but I think it's unnecessary. In fact seems a bit heavy-handed as I had already gotten that point.

Hope that helps!


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TaShaJaRo
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Well, I guess that just shows me how much different the picture in my head can come out on paper. I loved the comments except that you all saw something completely different than I thought I was describing. So...that makes me think I need to revise it a bit.

This is the first time I’ve had someone read any of it and I see now how important this step is. I’m going to need to join a local group or something so that I can wrangle someone into reading it and telling me what I’m saying. Then I can compare that to what I thought I said and make them match.

I’ll post version two in a bit.
Thanks!


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Beth
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...or you could start hanging out on an internet board and have those people tell you how your stuff is coming across...
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Rocklover
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Dear TSJR
I'm especially keen on dragon stuff. I'd love to have a read if you want to send any of it my way.
Judith

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Christine
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You know, I didn't have a problem with this opening at all. Well, I'm not sure I have the clearest picture in my mind of what's going on but somehow these paragraphs inspire me to have faith that the author will provide the relevant details. That's important, because that's not something you can be taught to do. Some of the biggest weaknesses I've seen are not in mistakes themselves, but in a lack of implied confidence.

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TaShaJaRo
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Beth – good point. Of course, I will continue using the plentiful resources of this wonderful forum. I only meant, that it would be nice to find a group of people, or even just one person, willing to read the entire novel before I submit it so that I can see other areas where I might have painted a picture different than I intended.

Rocklover – I just might take you up on that offer. I will email you and we can work something out that is convenient for you.

Christine – I am thrilled you liked the opening though I am not sure what you meant by “lack of implied confidence.” If you mean that it appears that I’m insecure of my work, that is actually not true. If anything, I’m too secure, which is why I was surprised that what I thought was a perfectly clear picture turned out not to be. I’m grateful for those that commented so that I could see where I may have miscommunicated. There are areas of the story that I do not care whether the reader sees the exact same picture as I do, but this is not one of them. I feel, since this is the first thirteen lines of the story, that it is imperative not to deceive the reader straight off. If the reader thinks they are reading about a dragon and then discovers that it is not a dragon but a man with draconic features...how disappointed is the reader going to be? Enough to set the book down? I can’t take that chance.

I posted only to participate and open myself up as others are doing. I enjoy critiquing because it helps me look at my own work more closely but I did not want to critique without also posting. But, then I realized that having someone read even just those few lines, was an enormous help. I’m sure there are other parts of the novel that are not nearly as clear as I think they are and only when I have someone read it will I find that out.

So...I hope that clears up any misunderstandings. This forum has been invaluable in the short time I’ve been here and I’m sure it will continue to be a boon as I continue through my WIP. Thanks to all who participate.


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Christine
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Read my post again. I actually meant that one of the biggest problems I see in OTHER people's work is a lack of implied confidence. Yours has it, and that's why this opening worked for me even despite the problems the others noticed.
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